The Loop

A golfer's 13 worst fears

July 07, 2016

“Nothing in life is to be feared," said physicist Marie Curie. "It is only to be understood.” Far be it from me to argue with a two-time Nobel Prize winner, but clearly Curie never played golf.

Because there's nothing to be "understood" about standing on a tee box, overlooking a scenic fusion of nature and thinking, "Crap, I hope I don't put this in the drink." Or having your knees shake over a 20-foot birdie putt, not that you're worried about making it but that, deep down, you're afraid it will end in a three-jack. (Spoiler: You'll three-jack.)

Golf is filled with these agitations, likely one of the reasons why "Golf is a good walk spoiled" is less of a remark and more of a truth. And many of the game's terrors are universal. Here are a golfer's 13 worst fears:

Throwing your back out on the eve of annual golf trip

On the bright side, nothing is better for a bad back than sitting in a plane or car seat for multiple hours, dragging a set of luggage behind you and playing 90 holes over a three-day period.


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Getting stuck behind the community center's women's 65-and-over league

Or worse, on the day they decide to hold their annual "Left-handed Club Wiffle Ball" tournament.

The Shanks

Forget the heart-rending sight of your ball violently rocketing from its resting place at a 45-degree angle. The shanks are terrifying because of the aftershock: After you've had one lateral run-in, an inescapable anxiety sets in that said shank will return, turning every iron and wedge shot into a panic attack. Good times!

The airlines losing your sticks

Imagine a babysitter losing a kid. Now multiply that by 14, and that's the despair that sets in when your clubs fail to emerge from baggage claim. (Note: I do not have kids.)

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All those Shingo Katayama hats you bought will never come back in style

Um, speaking for a friend on this one.

Hitting a bad shot on the first tee or after a group waves you through

One of the game's biggest embarrassments, topped only by...


Duffing a drive in front of the cart girl

There was a 98 percent chance you weren't getting her number anyway, but that flubbed four-iron sealed the deal.

Shooting the round of your life without a witness

According to the USGA, if you didn't play with anyone, it didn't happen.

It's a beautiful Saturday, you have nowhere you have to be...and you can't get a tee time

And forget practicing, because the range is packed as well. I'm not saying it's as bad as getting lupus...I'm just not not saying it.


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Your DVR fails to record The Masters while you're at your in-laws' Easter festivities

Couldn't Jesus have risen from the dead in May?

Missing a tap-in putt in front of the clubhouse veranda to lose the member-guest

The choke will haunt your dreams...but just in case you forget, your fellow members will only bring the instance up every chance they get.

Sun block/bug spray exploding and ruining everything in your bag

Hell hath no fury than sun lotion sticking to your grips and corroding your ball covers.

A rainout

Enough said.